The superspeedway aerodynamic configuration for the MAVTV 500 on June 27 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., will remain as written in the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook.
The rear wing mainplane angle must be set between 0 degrees and -10.5 degrees for the 250-lap race on the 2-mile, D-shaped oval with 14 degrees of banking in the turns. It was -6 degrees to -10.5 degrees for the race June 6 on the 1.5-mile, high-banked Texas Motor Speedway oval.
Six degrees more rear wing, even without a wicker that is unapproved for the event, will add about 300 pounds of downforce to compensate for the forecast 90-degree afternoon ambient and higher track temperatures. The past three Verizon IndyCar Series races at the track have been contested under the lights.
“We looked at the downforce increase that we had at Texas and saw marginal improvement in the degradation from the tires,” INDYCAR vice president of technology Will Phillips said. “Fontana is a little different in that it doesn’t have the tire degradation that Texas did when you go through the stats from 2014, so it’s just the challenge to drive the track, which is why it will have more downforce in the heat of the day.”
A sidewall or trimmed sidewall added to the underwing are among the aero kit-approved options. Front and aft rear wheel guard closure panels that were added for the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway will remain part of the aero platform.
June 26 practice sessions -- 9:30-10:15 a.m. and 12:45-2 p.m. (local) -- precede 4:45 p.m. single-car qualifications. The 250-lap race is scheduled for a 1:36 p.m. (local) green flag.
"With it being a day race and the temps being higher the track grip won’t be quite as good out of the car on track so the added downforce out of the kits will be beneficial," said CFH Racing co-owner/driver Ed Carpenter, who has finished first, second and third at Auto Club Speedway in the past three years. "I’m sure it will be a great race just because of how that track races; it will just be a little warmer."
There are multiple lanes on the 75-foot-wide surface, which Carpenter and others have used to their advantage over the years, but seams between those racing grooves are another challenge.
“It’s hard to get your car to work well in all the lanes, but that’s part of the challenge and what I like about the track," Carpenter said. "In 2012, not many people were running the high groove like I was. The past couple of years people have settled in so you have to get your car to work in other grooves to be able to avoid traffic. It presents you with options if you can figure it out.
"If it is really hot and the track is down on grip, if you start to slide across the seam it will be harder to recover. But I don’t think the seams will be any more pronounced. It’s what I like about that track is the added character you get from the way it is."
Added Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Graham Rahal: “You can never underestimate the power of the lanes. There are three major lanes and they are all shaped differently. That track is one of those you can never take for granted because you never know when it’s going to come out and bite you. Definitely excited to get out there; 500 miles is a long time, for sure. I think it’s going to be a good show and a good, safe race.”
Rahal's No. 15 is among the entries expected to mileage out their Chevrolet or Honda engine before the green flag. For this event, engines need to reach 2,344 miles by the end of practice/qualifications June 26 to be mileaged out per rule 16.5.3 of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook. The Nos. 5 (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) and 98 (Bryan Herta Autosport) Hondas also should reach the mileage threshold on the first day. The Nos. 1 (Team Penske), 9 and 10 (Chip Ganassi Racing Teams), 11 (KVSH Racing) and 83 (Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing) Chevrolets should meet the mileage limit on June 26.
Multiple other entries should mileage out their engines during the race.